Miami Heat news

Miami Heat news: 3 candidates to consider for $4.7 million trade exception

The 2023 NBA Free Agency time starts on Friday at 6 p.m. E.S.T., when teams can start talking with other teams’ free agents.

The Miami Heat are in a tough spot as they head into the summer. With an estimated $176.6 million going to 10 players, they are about $11.6 million above the luxury tax ($165M), $4.6 million above the first tax apron ($172M), and $5.9 million below the newly adopted second tax apron ($182M).

They can’t sign anyone through sign-and-trade, and they can’t use their non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4M) or their taxpayer mid-level exception ($5M) right now because they could hard-cap themselves.

So, the only thing they can do is use their $4.7M trade exception to buy a player or players on the trade market without having to match the money. With the new CBA, they can officially trade $4.7M plus an extra $250K (instead of $100K with the old one).

Even though this would still count against the price cap, it gives the Heat another way to get talent and take on contracts besides signing their own free agents or other free agents.

Most trade exceptions, which only last for one year, aren’t used because the amount is small and it’s often hard for teams to find one or more players that fit into that exception.

Hoops Rumors says that there are 51 active trade exceptions (five have been partially used), and the average initial amount is $4.68 million. The Heat’s $4.7 million exception, which comes from the Dewayne Dedmon trade to San Antonio and expires on February 7, 2024, is almost the average amount.

There are more than 110 non-rookies who are set to make $4.95 million ($4.7M + $250K) or less, but let’s focus on three who could be good fits for Miami.

KJ Martin, F, Houston Rockets ($1.9M)

K.J. Martin’s name has been tied to the Heat before. When P.J. Tucker went to Philadelphia in free agency before last season, the Heat were left without a “true” starting power forward.

The Athletic’s Kelly Iko said that Martin “approached Rockets management” to talk about a deal that never happened, and that the Heat were one of the teams that were interested. I could see the Heat and Rockets working together this offseason. The Rockets aren’t in a hurry to move any salary because they still have to pay more than $50 million in salaries before they hιt the $122.4 million salary floor with 12 players on the roster.

They will (as expected) spend a lot of money on free agents, and they could be one of the teams that takes on one or two bad contracts, which could help Miami. In either case, I think the Heat will talk to Martin again, as they usually do with guys they like, either in the offseason or at the trade deadline.

Chris Duarte, G, Indiana Pacers ($4.1M)

According to reports, the Indiana Pacers are in the lead to sign Max Strus. Marc Stein, an NBA source, said on Wednesday that the Pacers are “strongly considering” giving Strus a three-year, $48 million deal when free agency starts on Friday.

The Pacers don’t really need to work out a sign-and-trade because they are expected to have $34 million in cap space once Jarace Walker ($6.1M) and Ben Sheppard ($2.5M) sign their contracts. They are also not in dangҽr of hιtting a hard cap of $172 million, so a sign-and-trade is a good idea.

Indiana, on the other hand, has a lot of good shooters at wing, including Buddy Hield, Ben Mathurin, Aaron Nesmith, Jordan Nwora, and Sheppard. If they add Strus, this problem will get worse.

For a sign-and-trade to happen, both teams would have to agree, but Duarte, a 26-year-old whose role and effectiveness have both gone down since his rookie season, is someone to keep an eye on.

Santi Aldama, F, Memphis Grizzlies ($2.2M)

After having a small part as a rookie in 2021-22, Aldama filled in well for Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and Steven Adams when they got hurt last season.

But if they stay healthy and Xavier Tillman, Ziaire Williams, Jake LaRavia, and David Roddy all want to play, it will be hard for Aldama to get regular playing time.

Last season, Aldama showed that he could be a good floor spacer, even though he was sometimes overpowered on defense. The 6’11” big would have a clear job with the Heat and could add size to the frontcourt with his size. Aldama in the 305 might be the least likely choice, but I’m not against it.